- The Enchanted Garden, preludes (5) for piano (Book 1)
Richard Danielpour: The Enchanted Garden - Preludes Books I & IIby Xiayin Wang
Trained in Shanghai and New York, pianist Xiayin Wang is definitely one to watch. Her strengths are numerous: sheer power, an ability to pick a melody out of a complex texture, and an ability to keep a poetic spirit in the midst of extreme virtuoso difficulties. On top of all this is a feel for African-American rhythms, something not so common in pianists from the Asian sphere. Check out her recording of Earl Wild's bone-crushing fantasies on Gershwin. Her facility with jazz and especially ragtime also serves her well in these preludes by American composer Richard Danielpour, who composed the two sets of preludes 17 years apart and collectively titled them "The Enchanted Garden." The second set was commissioned by Wang herself, and she clearly inhabits these highly pianistic works that suggest Debussy and sometimes Poulenc, with the harmonic language and the ragtime content of each ramped up a bit. Sample the "Lean Kat Stride," from book II (track 9), to hear the verve Wang brings to American idioms. The sound, recorded at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, is ideal for this music, and the album as a whole may be worth collecting just so you can say you knew her when.
- Release Date:
- Naxos American
Performance CreditsXiayin Wang Primary Artist
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This was another brilliant performance by Xiayin Wang. Her precision is absolutely uncanny. Coupled with the intricacies of Danielpour work, she truly shines in this recording.
Xiayin Wang's credentials and experience, described in the booklet accompanying the CD "Enchanted Garden", alert us to the treat of hearing her beautiful control and rounded sounds; then the performance lifts us to an adventure on a flying carpet of melodic fantasy. Her technical prowess and elegant performance live up to the praise in the booklet text. Composer Richard Danielpour explains well the twelve preludes, making sense of their titles. The descriptions provide a basis for understanding themes based on his personal dreams. These "experiences and memories" are captured in five Preludes in Book 1 from 1992 and seven Preludes in Book 2 from 2009. Danielpour has a rich career in many musical venues and his own following in the world of performance. The playlist, performer, and composer are listed in Chinese on the Media Player; fortunately the jacket is in English. Are there so many Chinese readers in the American market that this is the preferred way of listing the preludes? It is especially puzzling since the disc was supposedly made in Canada and put together in the U.S.--with an American flag as background. The Arabic numerals correspond to the items within each Book, not the numbers of the tracks. Anything less would have English speakers numbering the preludes as they listen. While some selections are peaceful and others are gritty, Item #2 in Book 1 and #4 of Book 2 are especially appealing---Ms. Wang really takes us to ragtime and the Gershwin world! She understands the music completely, and shares that appreciation with the audience. "The Enchanted Garden" is a welcome addition to the collection of modern piano music, and displays the skills of both Danielpour and Wang.